No genre comes without its fair share of underrated classics. Hollywood’s go-to genre Sci-Fi has managed to produce volumes of work that have come to be loved by people all over the World.
This genre packed with action, thrill, innovation, and mind-bending storytelling has captured the audience’s attention well however some gems have, unfortunately, gone relatively unnoticed. But don’t worry! In this video, we bring to you a list of some forgotten Sci-Fi treasures.
Earth has new visitors as a group of aliens return to retrieve their cocoons they had left behind in their earlier visit before retrieved from the bottom of the ocean, they place them in a pool of a rented house in Florida.
Unfortunately for them, their plan is disturbed when they discover that a bunch of elderly individuals from a nearby community have been secretly using the pool and have managed to uncover strange powers from the cocoons.
Ron Howard has managed to create a modern day Sci-Fi that is bound to capture the attention of his audience. The glowing aliens are almost too realistic, their hand movements provided by the famous Caprice Roth, who did E.T. Howard showcases intelligent direction by manipulating the screen time for certain characters so that the film’s impact is enhanced and viewers recognize the cast’s excellent performance.
James Horner’s music is a fabulous blend of grandeur and childlike wonder. The film deals with the theme of aging with the utmost tenderness, and it also provokes the question of supernatural or extra-terrestrial beings existing. Overall, Cocoons contains a plucked melody that chimes in during all the crucial moments, which leaves viewers feeling like they have established a strong connection with each character. This gem is a must watch for all Sci-Fi buffs out there.
Enemy Mine (1985)
A soldier from Earth crash lands, after sustaining some wounds in a battle, on an alien planet. He encounters another survivor who happens to belong to the enemy camp he was fighting. Now it is upon them to work together to survive in their hostile surroundings while eventually developing a stronger bond with one another.
Wolfgang Peterson created this movie with utmost finesse portraying a visceral, dynamic and iconic storyline. It portrays out-of-the-world photography and cinematography. Its production design is very aesthetic for a mid-80s film. Some of its special effects are gorgeous, and it contains seamless camerawork since the transition between the real desert locations and the painted sets cannot be identified. Its fantastical element is highly enjoyable.
The costumes in this movie are quite well-made. Dennis Quaid portrays a remarkable performance as the protagonist Will. Besides its top-notch special effects, sets and costumes, the film lays essential focus on a touching and compelling human survival story involving hate, conflict and the trope of bitter enemies eventually becoming unlikely friends. Despite the entire movie being reshot, Wolfgang Peterson has created a forgotten classic that is worth watching.
Johnny Mnemonic (1995)
Premised in a dystopian 2021, Johnny Mnemonic is a tale depicting the future to be dominated by gigantic corporations connected by a massive internet. A sizeable portion of the population seems to be suffering from Nerve Attenuation Syndrome (NAS). Johnny has a chip implanted in his brain that allows for information to be transferred across to Newark from Beijing.
The Pharmakom industry, supported by the yazuka, is after him to acquire the information when J-Bone, the leader of a low-tech group, rescues him. They attempt to destroy the chip’s code to uncover a cure for NAS, to which even Johnny in inflicted with.
This cyberpunk action thriller directed by Robert Longo portrays an all-star ensemble cast of Keanu Reeves, Dina Meyer, Ice-T, Dolph Lundgren and Udo Kier, who do not fail to dazzle the audience with their brilliant performance.
The film is based on the story of the same name by William Gibson and upholds a brisk narrative. It provides a stark political commentary by giving viewers an outlook into the potential new century environment that capitalism and technology can build up with armoured towers, multinational corporations and ruined democracies, backed by poignant storytelling.
Robert Longo displays remarkable cinematography with the scenes of Newark and Beijing being primarily shot in Toronto and Montreal. He also exhibited a colourful variety of characters that establish their individual connection to viewers, including Karl Honig, who provided a mirror to several fundamentalist citizens of American society. Finally, it contains top-notch action sequences and hi-tech equipment, all packed in a futuristic ambiance that everyone must watch.
A government-funded project is initiated with the goal of entering people’s dreams, using psychics. They would do so with mechanical assistance. Unfortunately one of the subjects dies of a heart attack in his sleep. This kindles Alex Gardner’s attention and he suspects that there may be something more diabolical at play and that one of the psychics may be killing the subjects off in their dream causing them to die parallel in the real World. Now he must race against time to discover the real culprit and put an end to his menace.
Joseph Ruben created a dark sci-fi thriller with a mind-blowing cast of Dennis Quaid, Max von Sydow and Christopher Plummer. Despite a serious overtone Dennis Quaid seems to induce a humorous undertone.
Viewers are treated with fantastic dream sequences in this film with subtle touches of Ruben’s vibrant direction style. The diversity in colours allegorizes the different characteristics and subconscious of the people. It has excellent special effects for a low budget flick and great stop motion animation.
The film plays with viewers’ emotions by showcasing the dynamism of dreams and their impact on one’s conscience by portraying the surreal, horrific aspects of the subjects’ dream worlds. It is packed with thrilling chase scenes that maintain plotline continuity. It explores themes of good vs. evil, and the characters all have fantastic chemistry with one another. With unique 80s creativity, originality and a modern-day spin, Dreamscape should definitely be on your watch list.
A Formula One racer, Alex Furlong is taken away by a time machine, by Victor Vacendak’s 21st century team of technicians, seconds away from meeting a fatal explosion. The purpose of this was to use his body to sell it off, for a mind transfer, to an ailing rich man in McCandless Corporation. Even though Alex is able to escape, his life in the future continues to be a nightmare.
He must survive against all odds and attempt to revive his relationship with his fiancé who is 15 years older in the future and is working as an executive at McCandless Corporation.
Geoff Murphy puts his unique directional flavor in this film’s futuristic storyline. It has a solid script accompanied by Emilio Estevez’s natural charisma. A star-studded ensemble of Mick Jagger, Anthony Hopkins, and Rene Russo are a highlight playing multifaceted characters with much ease.
This movie is cheesy in an enjoyable way and displays decent special effects. Murphy carefully crafts it with an insane plot, coherence and thrilling ambiance in a way that leaves viewers wanting more. It is driven by explicit imagery, consistent characters and just enough development.
Besides these qualities, this film showcases a unique twist on time travel that would make avid sci-fi fans go wild. Furthermore, the futuristic setting makes the audience wonder whether the world’s current scenario might end up in this way and delivers an important message about human beings’ actions to preserve the present world. Overall, it is an underrated sci-fi flick worth a watch.
Dark Skies (2013)
Lacy, her husband Daniel, and two sons Jesse and Sammy live in a quiet, suburb. Lacy works as a real estate and has an amicable household. However their happiness is short-lived as some bizarre occurrences create a chaos in their household. Unfortunately for them they come to know of a deadly entity from beyond the stars that is now after them.
This is an edge of the seat horror film with several jump scares and recurring suspense that director Scott Stewart intelligently builds up. It takes inspiration from older Sci-Fi to keep its audience engaged. It presents an old school approach in terms of story development and delivery of frights. The characters develop at a timely pace and are in sync with the plot’s progression.
Stewart carefully takes care of all intricate details and creates a very thought-provoking atmosphere for the audience. Keri Russell delivers an emotional, powerful performance, and the overuse of CGI animated gore complements its old school vibe. The anticipation of the alien’s identity revelation keeps the audience on the edge of their seats, not to mention, the digital appearance only adds to its monstrosity. The cliff-hanger ending opens up a sequel scope and makes it a unique movie in the sci-fi genre and a must-watch.
A young scientist couple, known to be rebellious, is stopped by their employers from conducting their new research that involves producing new creatures with medical benefits by splitting together multiple organisms’ DNA. However, the cunning duo is less than deterred and continued this time, however, by splicing human DNA.
Director Vincenzo Natali creates a brilliant, cheesy, profound and juvenile movie with a memorable storyline. The writers fearlessly explored new boundaries in this creative genius. Creating an artificially engineered humanoid, who also serves as one of the most beautiful characters in the film, certainly portrays a broad, imaginative range.
The film investigates several subtexts, including rape, incest, bestiality and science. It is predictable in a compelling manner that viewers find themselves looking forward to certain scenes. Moreover, it serves as a voyeuristic romp truly testing the limits of the extent to which the writers’ imagination can stretch.
The use of complex terminologies like the Oedipus Complex add to the engaging plot. The film is a deep socio-political satire disguised as a campy sci-fi flick. It also exhibits techno-moral humour accompanied by a thrilling narrative. This combination makes this film a true paragon of its kind that must be watched by everyone.
Set in a futuristic society, a handful of people are selected at birth to become soldiers when they grow up. They are trained to become inhuman almost if they were living breathing killing machines. Sgt. Todd, one of the successful soldiers is pitted against a new breed of soldiers.
Post the confrontation, he is assumed to be dead and his body is dumped off on a foreign, colonial planet which unlike his is peaceful. He is taught a new way of life here. Eventually he must rise to the occasion and battle the same soldiers only this time to defend his new home.
Kurt Russell plays a silent and robust leader soldier in this futuristic action thriller directed by Paul Anderson. Set on a garbage dump planet, the set resembles a cross between Rambo and Shane. Kurt Russell and his supporting cast all portray outstanding performances.
With minimal dialogue, he conveys the utmost emotion, feeling and meaning with just facial expressions and glances. It depicts realistic action sequences with themes of searching for one’s humanity and individuality. Anderson is to be applauded for showcasing such character depth and remarkable cinematography.
Some may say it may have emitted a Blade Runner like vibe from it. It is an action film with a message and a cautionary tale that transcends the sci-fi genre. It reminds viewers of the importance of keeping one’s humanity alive and entertaining a bleak alternative future.
Kill Command (2016)
In a futuristic setting, we see a heavily technology reliant society creating killing machines. To test these prototypes, an elite marine unit is sent to an off-the-grid island facility. They get to their task and make short work on the A. I. targets. However, the troop is alarmed when their sentry goes missing overnight and they discover him dead the very next day.
They come upon the realization that they are now stuck on an Island that is a killing field and must combat with intelligence far beyond their predecessors who learn from their every move.
Directed by Steven Gomez, this low budget flick has a remarkable storyline and is backed by a solid script. It has a remarkable set that looks incredibly realistic and commendable special effects that blow viewers away. The actors portray excellent performances, and the robots are designed in a carefully detailed manner fighting on elaborate battle scenes.
These scenes are tastefully shot with great dialogue delivery. There is a constant feeling of tension that lingers throughout the film and leads to a decent culmination. Avid sci-fi fans enjoy the Predator/Terminator atmosphere of the movie and are hooked on to it right from the beginning.
Moreover, it subtly implies a message on the shortcomings of a world primarily dependent on technology with humanity as the secondary focus. Kill Command combines both jump-scares and visual aesthetics in a smooth blend. Furthermore, it uses realistic military tactics, a classic high-tech villain and an original plot that makes it worth watching.
Altered States (1980)
Eddie is an unconventionally brilliant graduate who conducts experiments on himself in an isolation chambers in the late 1960s. These experiments start taking a toll on Eddie as he starts getting strange hallucinations. Years later, he is a Harvard Professor who has lost his confidence in being able to conduct experiments.
Eventually Eddie resumes his experiments with some strange hallucinogens that according to him, allow him to enter into an alternate physical and mental state, which everyone takes with a pinch of salt. Soon Eddie’s changing behaviour becomes concerning to his colleagues and his wife.
This film, adapted from Paddy Chayefsky’s only novel, is a masterpiece directed by Ken Russell. It explores the theme of a common bond between all human beings and the ability to love. It is a harshly beautiful and intellectual 80s flick with fine performances. It displays dazzling special effects and exhibits the painful, emotional epiphany that the protagonist Eddie experiences.
It appears as his attempt to counter his own intellectual block. Ken Russell sends a strong message about the power of love and its ability to embrace us all and heal wounds. However, it must be kept in mind that this film is not for the faint hearted as it contains several disturbing and repulsive imagery combined with scenes of blasphemy.
Viewers find comfort in its central idea of commonality and kinship that humans have with each other. It highlights the dangers of setting oneself apart to avoid the pain and consequences of love. This underrated gem is one of the best films created and a must-watch among the realm of lost sci-fi.
Extracted is premised on a scientist who has invented a new technology to construct virtual realities from people’s memories. A convict volunteers to be a part of his study, to which he reluctantly agrees. Soon he is horrified to discover that his own consciousness is now trapped in the convict’s mind.
Nir Paniry created this independent sci-fi thriller with a decent pace based on a solid script. It contains a gripping storyline in which the audience is immersed from the beginning. It showcases a unique and brilliant concept with a satisfying ending. The plot appears logical and realistic, filled with action and unexpected twists.
Its low-budget and a relatively unknown ensemble might have acted against its merit nonetheless it still remains a brilliant watch. The actors portray great, convincing performances making the characters memorable. Nir Paniry creates a distinct atmosphere in this modern-day flick, unlike any other film with his unique spin and remarkable special effects. Furthermore, it is not just a regular film where viewers extract details from visuals, but it is very thought-provoking and a must-watch for everyone.
Six years ago, NASA discovered the possibility of alien life within the earth’s solar system. In order to testify this possibility they launch a probe to space to collect samples. The launch party however crashes into North-America upon re-entry. Surprisingly, new forms of life begin to sprout in and around the region quarantining Mexico as an ‘infected Zone’.
In the present day, the American and Mexican military struggle to contain these creatures. An American journalist agrees to escort a tourist through Mexico’s infected zone to reach the US border safely.
This movie directed by Gareth Edwards, displays outstanding cinematography and visual effects. It has a high production value with a sparse plot. Viewers often overlook the subtext of aliens landing and being contained within a restricted zone, being a forced but entertaining allegory for racial disharmony. This film exhibits less action than it is expected of it to depict.
The duo’s journey through the zone exhibits several stunning shots and shocking stories involving silent terror. Protagonist Andrew Kaulder makes for a memorable character played by Scoot McNairy, who portrays a remarkable performance. The film balances Fiction with stereotypes into a beautifully flowing narrative. The plot unfolds at a brisk pace accompanied by an eerie soundtrack and tension building strings that immediately draw viewers in.